Commentaries discussion


Delete my content and posts


The Chinese Agama texts are certainly not Mahayana and Theravada. But they belong to the early Buddhist texts. The website, suttacentral, obviously is for all the relevant early Buddhist texts. It is certainly very useful website for studies in Early Buddhism (not just Theravada)!


In the SN.40.9. Animittapañhāsuttaṃ, there is a term “animittaṃ cetosamādhiṃ”.

What is the signless immersion of the heart?
Katamo nu kho animitto cetosamādhīti?
It occurred to me:
Tassa mayhaṃ, āvuso, etadahosi:
‘It’s when a mendicant, not focusing on any signs, enters and remains in the signless immersion of the heart.
‘idha bhikkhu sabbanimittānaṃ amanasikārā animittaṃ cetosamādhiṃ upasampajja viharati.
This is called the signless immersion of the heart.’
Ayaṃ vuccati animitto cetosamādhī’ti.

In the SN 41.7 Godattasuttaṃ, there is a term “animittā cetovimutti”.

And what is the signless heart’s release?
Katamā ca, bhante, animittā cetovimutti?
It’s when a mendicant, not focusing on any signs, enters and remains in the signless immersion of the heart.
Idha, bhante, bhikkhu sabbanimittānaṃ amanasikārā animittaṃ cetosamādhiṃ upasampajja viharati.
This is called the signless heart’s release.
Ayaṃ vuccati, bhante, animittā cetovimutti.

If these two are the same, why not appamāṇa ceto?

I think if we don’t know what does the commentary mean when it annotates something, it’s difficult to infer what the annotation means.

======= update ========
In the AN 5.27, it seems appamāṇaṃ just mean an attribute of Samādhi.

“Mendicants, develop limitless immersion, alert and mindful.
Samādhiṃ, bhikkhave, bhāvetha appamāṇaṃ nipakā patissatā.


Please do not use such rude language on this forum.

The book referred to clearly says “The notion of emptiness in early Buddhism” and is a study of parallel texts in Pali and Chinese. It has nothing to do with Mahayana. I would encourage you to familiarize yourself with the fundamental tenets of the study of early Buddhism. We have a number of essays on the topic on SC.

Nevertheless, the study of emptiness is a perfectly valid field of study, and if someone wants to look at the early texts in the light of Mahayana they are most welcome, just as they are welcome to look at it in the light of the Theravada commentaries. The different traditions of Buddhism all have their value, and we have much to learn from all of them. But without understanding the fundamentals of early Buddhism, we are likely to fall into the trap of sectarian identity and fundamentalism.


Are there sanskrit early buddhist texts?


Delete my content and posts


Could you tell us what are Mahayana definitions of emptiness, which you consider “according to Theravada, Mahayana definitions of emptiness are complete nonsense.”?


"According to Theravada, Mahayana definitions of emptiness are complete nonsense."


edit: Also, really? Do we really need this kind of attitude in Western Buddhism right now? Do we really want to continue the sectarianism of the past as we seek to bring Buddhism to the rest of the world?

Jeez. :roll_eyes:


Yes, e.g. the twenty-five Sanskrit sutras edited by Chandrabhal Tripathi correspond to the Chinese SA 283-303 and SA 343-346. The relevant Pali texts are in the Nidana Samyutta. See The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism (by Choong Mun-keat), p. 150, n. 3.


This venerable isn’t speaking nonsense, just an unpopular opinion. There is a huge push to claim that both vehicles teach the “same” emptiness, but there are also equally valid claims within each tradition, Mahāyāna and Theravāda, that two different emptinesses are taught.


I’ve not read this particular book:

But since the Amazon blurb says:

This book investigates the teachings of emptiness in early Buddhism, as recorded in the Pali and Chinese version of the early Buddhist canon. …

I’m not sure why it is assumed to be a specifically Mahayana interpretation. Surely such comparisons are what this site is about…


Delete my content and posts


Delete my content and posts


If you want to retract your previous statement, that’s cool. But I will remind you that you did not merely state that there is a difference between how emptiness is explained in Mahayana vs Theravada.

Instead, what you did say is: “According to Theravada, Mahayana definitions of emptiness are complete nonsense.

This is pretty insulting, since it claims that a large proportion of modern Buddhists are teaching nonsense. If you are going to be throwing around such insults, please be prepared to back them up.


Delete my content and posts


Indeed debate is a good thing when done skillfully :slight_smile:
But this means providing reasoning with examples or citations rather than just opinion. It also requires that criticism is aimed at ideas and not individuals, and that care is taken to avoid harsh expression. The basic idea of constructive debate about EBT issues is encouraged within the framework of Right Speech as taught by the Buddha and as outlined in our guidelines.

:anjal: :dharmawheel:


it is good the Theravada can be preserved as it is. And also the Mahayana by its own side. In this sense, a healthy “foundamentalism” it’s a good thing.

Emptiness notion in Mahayana is different from Theravada. In Mahayana, there is a different historical evolution of ideas and practices, from the Prajnaparamita literature to Asvagosha and endless other things. There are tons of books and stuff available to check that difference. Mahayana emptiness is a distinctive thing which should be understood inside its own historical evolution. Theravada words on Mahayana emptiness notion always sounds unsatisfactory, and the same happens regarding Mahayana words about Theravada notions. That’s normal because are two different things.

About “Western Buddhism”, these classifications only get its real sense in Historical terms after an enough evolution. Today, the Western Buddhism mainly exists like an academic and literary artifact. We lack of enough Historical time to profile a distinctive “Western Buddhism”. And anyone can check today we have low-cost travel and Internet. It is quite possible that no real “Western Buddhhism” will exist because it’s too late for that.

One shouldn’t be excessively concerned to “adapt” Buddhism depending of contemporary social beliefs. Teaching of the Buddha is “come and see”. Some people will come, the most no. Only few people is able to feel attraction for the depth of Dhamma teaching. This is no news. From the beguinning it was in that way.

Dhamma lacks of any evolutionary purpose. Buddhism is not a biological theory neither an evangelical protestantism to save the world or a political tool to build a Promise Land over corpses. Dhamma is a Path for the person, to pursue freedom in the founaments of the same existence. This is difficult to see and difficult to accept. Not for the many. As always it was.


Respecting and exploring the differences between Mahayana and Theravada views is a good thing.

Stating outright that fellow Buddhists’ views are “nonsense” is something else altogether.

Do you see anyone here arguing that Mahayana and Theravada views are the same? I sure don’t.


friend, one should expect Theravada teachings from Theravada monks. And the rejection of other views is a normal thing. If we want to add thoughts it will be just kamma.

Look inside Suttas and we will find similar things:

“Potthapada, all those wanderers are blind and have no eyes.”
DN 9

Perhaps those fellow wanderers felt offense if they knew that conversation?

I wonder if this can be related with a better meaning for the word respect, which is not political correction.

A clearer example: in this board we say many times the Theism is a non-sense. That’s not bad because we remember basics of Dhamma using other teachings as a reference. If some theist person read this and he feel offense, it would be his own problem. Obviously we are not going to theists places to claim they are in a non-sense. Because we are respectful.

However, this is a Theravada place. If here somebody says that from a Theravada perspective, a Mahayana notion or another it’s a non-sense, I wonder where is the strange thing. It is just a normal affirmation of the own teaching in a proper place.

Myself I have a Mahayana background more than 10 years and still I keep high respect for some things. I cannot see any strange thing reading these words in a Theravada place. This is not an interbuddhist or interreligious space, I believe. Every situation has a context :wink:

I don’t wish to break this thread on translations because this issue. There is a thread which can be more related with this:


Are you sure? I think is forum is trying to be a nonsectarian exploration of EBTs outside of two modern innovative traditions, Theravāda and Mahāyāna.